OTTAWA – Federal Conservatives have called for a special forum committee dedicated to Canada-US relations.
They will present the idea during a debate in a public forum dedicated to opposition business today.
Their task force will see the focus on economic relations between the two countries, and in view of the current epidemic, “the need for an intensive plan for economic recovery that recognizes the integration of the North American economy.”
While there is a broad mandate for the proposed panel, the Conservatives would like to focus on two areas: the purchase of U.S. arrangements put forward by US President Joe Biden, and the so-called Line 5 Enbridge pipeline that some U.S. officials want to close.
If the proposal is approved, the new panel will be tasked with preparing reports on those issues, with the authority to call the Deputy Prime Minister, Secretary of State and the Canadian Ambassador to the United States as witnesses.
The panel will also examine what the government is working with the United States to purchase a stable stream of COVID-19 vaccines.
Opposition movements are not bound to the government, although the move could be used to create political pressure.
The call for a Canada-US special panel echoes the Conservatives ‘previous successful attempt to get a similar group to focus on Canada-China relations in connection with the Liberals’ objection.
The initiative was spearheaded by current party leader Erin O’Toole when he was a Conservative foreign affairs critic.
The purchase of US regulations and the future of Enbridge Line 5 are hot-button political issues.
The pipeline uses millions of liters of propane every day, passing through parts of northern Michigan and Wisconsin and ending in Ont, Sarnia.
The Michigan governor wants the pipeline closed, and environmental activists are urging Biden to support his recent decision to repeal the Keystone XL pipeline system.
Conservatives have accused the Liberals of not being enough to convince Biden to change his mind about Keystone, and say more needs to be done to ensure that Line 5 remains open to protect the jobs associated with it.
One issue Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed in his call with US Vice President Kamala Harris earlier this week is that Biden is also advocating the purchase of protectionist US policies.
Canadian businesses have raised concerns that U.S. government contracts will be barred from bidding, and Trudeau’s office said part of his call with Harris was about “avoiding the unintended consequences” of the US approach to buying the US.
This report of the Canadian edition was first published on February 4, 2021.
Stephanie Lewitz, The Canadian Press